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How to Plan the Ultimate Off-Grid Cabin Adventure With Friends

It’s cozy season, and there’s no better way to get over the winter blues than to plan an outdoorsy weekend with friends. Traveling can test even the strongest of bonds, and finances and logistics can push the limits of even the most patient friend.

Whether you’re taking the lead for a small crew or caravaning your whole college dorm reunion to the slopes, here are a few tips to help limit stress and keep communication clear.

Designate a Logistics Coordinator

The best way to ensure everything is booked in a timely manner is to be clear on who’s managing the logistics. Make sure you get input and “must-haves” from each person, then leave it to the designated coordinator. 

Address Budgets up Front

Since money is a personal matter, it is hard to know the details of your friends’ finances. To eliminate awkwardness, make sure everyone is clear on how much the weekend is going to cost. If you are the logistics coordinator, check in with each person in the group individually to ask how they feel about the budget range, so that no one feels embarrassed to tell the whole group they can’t afford something.    

If you have several multiple large expenses for the group, consider spreading them out so one person isn’t responsible for everything. Be strategic about this—some travel credit cards come with built-in travel and/or rental car insurance, which can save the group some money and provide a bit of extra peace of mind. 

You can also use an expense-tracking app like Splitwise to simplify costs between everyone. Book refundable and cancelable options whenever possible, and consider asking friends to pay upfront for non-refundable expenses, because you never know who will drop out last-minute.

Cabin adventure
Image by Zach Reiner

Choose a Large Rental House

That cute little house may be adorable in photos, but it could feel claustrophobic once you get there. It may be worth sacrificing Instagram-ability for an extra bedroom or secondary hangout space, so everyone has room to spread out. This is especially important if you’ve got some introverts in your group or if some people don’t know each other as well.  

Pin Your Cabin on Google Maps

I always zoom in to my Airbnbs on Google Maps and then zoom out to see what’s in the neighborhood. You might find parks, historic landmarks, lesser-known (and less crowded) trails, and more. It’s also great to know where the nearby gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants are, in the event you want to grab takeout and have a night in.

Don’t Over-Schedule the Weekend 

When I’m traveling in a group, it’s crucial for me to feel like I have some control of what I’m doing each day. Being out in a remote, Wi-Fi-dead zone has its pros and cons. While you presumably have lovely views and hikes at your doorstep, there’s a chance you’re also all stuck with the same car, which means you have to travel as a pack. This is great if everything goes perfectly, but it can also get tricky. Your weekend itinerary should have a good balance of planned activities and downtime, which allows time for unexpected adventures as well.

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